Category Archives: Kvetching

How Do You Feel About Sacrificial Bloodletting?

I have White Coat Syndrome.

Doctors, hospitals, and anything containing the word “hemoglobin” terrify me.

This is the real Red Room of Pain.

The real Red Room of Pain.

It all started when I was 15, and had my blood drawn for the first time. They thought I might have mono. (If that’s The Kissing Disease, I was the exception. For some reason, boys didn’t seem to like my braces, glasses, and white tights combo.)

I was nervous, but insisted on going into the office alone. I was fine until the nurse said she needed to take an extra vial of blood, and handed me the one she’d just filled.

It was warm.

With my blood.

Like blood that should be inside of my body, with me blissfully unaware of its temperature.

I mean, seriously. This was seriously next to me during my last doctor's visit.

I mean, seriously. This was next to me during my last doctor’s visit.

A few minutes later, Babs (my mom) found me passed out on the bathroom floor. Since then, I haven’t been able to set foot inside a doctor’s office or hospital without some level of panic. If you were to take my blood pressure results during any of these visits in earnest, I should be dead.


Tell me this doesn’t look like a medieval torture wall.

Now that I’ve reached a point in life where retirement planning is starting to mean something, I’ve decided it’s time to face fears, if only so I can collect big in 29 years.

In the past month, I’ve gone to the dentist twice, the doctor’s once, and I even voluntarily had a small amount of blood drawn for a workplace annual health assessment. And I only cried a tiny little moderate amount!

Where dreams go to die.

Where fears go to die.

On Sunday, I’ve decided to up the ante: I’m donating blood. And I’m making Babs hold the warm vial of blood my hand this time.

Have you ever gotten over a phobia?

P.S. – Things I learned from writing this post: Bloodletting is one word. THAT IS NOT OKAY.


GIVEAWAY CONTEST! Can You Stop Being A Miserable Bastard?

Recently, as part of a huge work conference I coordinated (okay, helped coordinate), we booked an external guest speaker. A guy named Shawn Achor.

I may have geeked out a little.

I may have geeked out a little.

Apart from having a viral TedTalk, Shawn is a New York Times bestselling author who’s even caught God’s Oprah’s attention. (If you do one thing today besides pretending to work, I hope it’s clicking that link.)

Why’s he so popular? Well, he’s super cute he studies happiness, for starters. And who isn’t obsessed with happiness but the most stressed out, miserable population since 1936 (I may have made that last part up)?


Shawn grew up in Texas, all set to become a firefighter, when he got accepted into Harvard on a full scholarship. As he tells it, no one was more surprised than him. He got to campus in awe, but eventually depression snuck up and bit him in the smart, adorable tuckus. Though he struggled, Shawn ultimately succeeded, and was even invited to stay on board as a resident adviser after graduation.

Over time, he noticed a glaring trend: He wasn’t alone. Every year, within a couple of short months, a huge percentage of freshman went from exulting in their good fortune to lamenting their overwhelming workloads. Gone was the excitement and gratitude they felt when they first got to Harvard; in swooped a laser-focus on stress and perfection.


What was happening to these kids? And why? And most importantly, could it be helped?

Through some truly fascinating and entertaining research, Shawn discovered -and forgive the cliche as I oversimplify- that happiness comes from within.

Or you could just wait for your friend to give you a lucky bamboo. (DUDE. THIS THING WORKS.)

Or you could just wait for your friend to give you a lucky bamboo. (DUDE. THIS THING WORKS.)

How many of us tell ourselves, “When I get that promotion, I’ll be happy”? Or, “When I lose 10 pounds, I’ll be happy”? Or my personal favorite, “When bacon goes on sale again, I’ll be happy”? When we constantly define success as a goal that lies ahead of us, we never feel truly satisfied.

The good news is: There’s something we can do about it. And we can do it now. In The Happiness Advantage, Shawn outlines simple Happiness Habits we can all adopt to reverse our negative thought patterns. By putting some of these practices to use, in 21 short days, you’ll report improved levels of happiness in just about every aspect of your life.

If that’s not convincing? Wait’ll you read about how companies embracing positivity are hiring. They’re not wasting their money. They have proof: Optimism yields results, and staggering ones at that.

It isn't the world that'll change - it's you.

Shawn does not like this book cover. I know this because we’re best friends.

Want to win a copy of Shawn’s bestselling book, “The Happiness Advantage”? Simply leave a comment below describing a funny (or otherwise noteworthy) run-in with a miserable bastard!

(…What? That’s positive! That’s funny! I totally get what this book is about!)

I’ll [entirely subjectively] pick an entrant to receive of a copy of the book and announce the winner next week! Contest ends MIDNIGHT EST on Sunday, March 15, 2015. Open to awesome people worldwide.

Disclaimer: I was not given any incentive, monetary or otherwise, to write this. I am just bored waiting for Shawn Achor to accept a second wife. I seriously love Shawn Achor, and this book. 


I Did It All For The Stickers

Oh, hi blog, it’s me, Jules. You probably didn’t recognize me because I’VE LOST MY F%$&%@ MIND.

Remind me never to buy real estate again. In fact, remind me to never buy anything again, ever. Okay, maybe toothbrushes. Those get really gross after a while.

Trying to sell your house is like having to, every day for, possibly, ever, tell a 6-year-old Santa Claus doesn’t exist. You don’t know how bad it’s going to be, but you know it’s going to be bad.

Especially when you’ve lost your job and are convinced you can do everything yourself.

Case in point: Buying this year’s Christmas tree became a rushed, haggard ‘staging’ opportunity, as opposed to a magical, fragrant event wherein I blast John Denver and the Muppets and drink egg nog rum.


Ever try to chop down a tree with a rusty saw and an eye that tells you 10 feet is 7 feet?

Case in point part deux: In the past month, I’ve learned things about my vacuum that, frankly, I think I was better off not knowing.

Three years together, vacuum, and NOW you tell me?

Three years together, vacuum, and NOW you tell me?

In fact, I was so desperate to get out of cleaning the downstairs coat closet, when Babs (my mom) mentioned needing help at the office yesterday, I gleefully volunteered. She works for an allergist, and while I was sure I’d be of no use whatsoever, she was more than willing to perch me in the front window for the day.

Questions I Was Not Able to Answer

  • Can I come in for a flu shot?
  • Can you talk to my primary care doctor about sending over my blood work?
  • What is your fax number?
  • Can I still have peanut and sesame oil?

Question(s) I WAS able to Answer

  • Can my child have a sticker?

And may I recommend My Little Pony?

How often do you replace your toothbrush? When did you find out Santa Claus wasn’t real? Would you like a sticker?

I Am Thankful For %&$*#@!

Oy vey.

I love the holidays, but deciding to sell my house during them?

Oy. To the. Freaking. Vey.

“Oh, but I lost my job, I’ll have so much time to do everything myself!” -Me, 5 weeks ago, being a dumbass.

“Surely I can just sand that chipped paint on the bathroom ceiling!”


Oh… that’s not paint… it’s like, like… giant chunks of plaster…


…and now it’s everywhere.

“Oh, I’ll just buy a new french door lock from Home Depot!”


“I AM NEVER F&#$%^^* coming off, so just go eat some more turkey and leave me alone.” -Door Lock

“It’s sooo cheap to get a truckload of mulch! Amazing!”


5 -literally- full days of mulching and this eye sore still remains at the foot of the driveway.

“What a great opportunity to declutter!”



“Free boxes from someone on Craigslist! Yay!”


Do you think I can get rid of these 57 extra boxes on Craigslist before the first open house?

“I’ll just spackle over those holes downstairs!”


Spackle dust doesn’t actually stay in your lungs, does it?

“That swing set out back is so old, it’ll just come apart with a good shove!”


3 weeks later.

And the latest and greatest, the pièce de résistance, my attempt to clean a carpet yesterday:


I can’t even talk about this one.

What also happened yesterday? Babs (mom) sent a picture of my niece’s latest art project. She had to list her favorite relative:


Booya. Right up there with chickin.

I guess I do have a lot to be thankful for.


Got any house selling tips? This is a first for me. …Clearly.


My Life is Hanging in the Balance!

Hiya, Chipmunks.

I know it’s been a little over a week since I’ve regaled you with talking animals and my ceaseless wit, so I thought I’d pop in just to let you know my life is in utter turmoil.

I kid, I kid.


Right now I’m sitting in a spare office waiting to see if I still have a job [in project management]. They’re laying off 20% of my division’s workforce this month, and today everyone in my department is getting called down to the principal’s office to find out their Fate.

You might think this is an odd time to blog. Especially since I might have a lot of time to blog in the very near future (ba-da-BUM!), but what else am I gonna do? Work?

Nah. I’d rather reminisce about last weekend in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where I did a little of this…


…and a little of that…


…and a whole lotta this:

Troegenator might -seriously- be the best beer I've ever had.

Troegenator might -seriously- be the best beer I’ve ever had.

You know, with some time off, I could do a lot of traveling. And video blogging. And pumpkin carving.

Especially once we sell the house.

Oh hang on. I think my phone is ringing.

Have you ever gone through company lay-offs? How did they/you handle it?


5 Stages of Exercise Grief

Now that I’m living life with a Fitbit (a.k.a. the pedometer on crack), I feel I owe you some dieting advice and exercise tips.

It'll only cost you $100 and your soul.

It’ll only cost you $100 and your soul.

For example, did you know either 8 shots of vodka or a bottle of champagne is a perfectly valid meal substitute, calorically speaking?

And you don't even have to chew!

And you don’t even have to chew!

As for exercise, just take a gander at my personal trainer:


Isn’t he magnificent? I call him Tadd, with two D’s, because he looks like he inspired every DoubleMint commercial ever made.


Tadd leads my 8-Minute video work-outs, and is very beautiful and nice. Tadd reminds me to “keep smiling, gang! After all, it’s only 8 goddamn minutes!”

There are four DVDs in here. You do the math.

There are four DVDs in here. Tadd’s not very good at math.

Despite Tadd’s belief in the power of tomato cans as handheld weights and unitards as a general life choice, I leave him feeling less than optimistic.

Sure, my buns are burning up, Tadd, but so is my will to live.

5 Stages of Exercise Grief

Slide2 Slide3 Slide4 Slide5


What’s your least favorite exercise? 


My Bra Is Stuffed (But I’m Still Hungry)

***DISCLAIMER: This post was not sponsored (except by my growing bum). All opinions expressed are my own.***

I’ve got something special in my bra, Chipmunks.

Also a Fitbit.

What the sugar-free fudge is a Fitbit? Thanks for asking. It’s basically a pedometer on crack.

The only thing I HAVEN'T tried to lose weight.

The only thing I HAVEN’T tried to lose weight.

Two weeks ago, a colleague showed me a nifty little device, about the size of a money clip, attached to her belt. “It tells you how many calories you can still eat for the day! It even monitors your sleep!” she said. Much like how Anna made pickle juice sound delicious in my last blog contest, the seed was planted. I wanted one. Bad.


“It costs about 100 bucks,” she continued.

Yeesh, never mind, I thought. Surely with my 40 mile/week fitness regimen, I can lose weight for free.

Except I couldn’t. I’d been stuck in a plateau, halfway to my weight loss goal, for almost two years.

I was sick and tired of taking blog photos from only certain angles.

Do you think Adam finds this acceptable?

Do you think Adam finds this acceptable?

Of not wanting my profile captured.

Ah, those carefree, go-ahead-take-a-picture-from-any-angle days!

Ah, those carefree, single-chinned days!

Don’t even get me started on full body shots and bathing suits!

Back in 2005, I thought I could even get away with a fanny back.

Back in 2005, I thought I could even get away with a fanny back.

To make matters worse, I couldn’t throw a Twinkie without hitting someone ridiculously fit. My sister just finished her ten thousandth triathlon in first place, my oldest friend voluntarily ran up a mountain in Colorado, Rachel’s Table did Insanity, Girl on the Contrary signed up for The Betty Rocker Challenge, The Byronic Man ran two half marathons, and Truth and Cake completed Tough Mudder. Just to name a few.

Just... just try it again. It'll go through.

Just… just try it again. It’ll go through.

On Thursday morning, I hopped on my whore of a scale and the writing was on the wall. An hour later, one thing was already lighter. My wallet.

And now this little piece of black plastic between my breasts tracks my every move, dictating my remaining caloric allowance based on activity, height, weight, age and gender. (Provided I honestly report my food intake using my Fitbit online account.)

Thankfully, for the project manager in me, it displays all of these goodies in some pretty neat dashboards and charts, which I can view on my computer or smart phone.


It wasn’t long before I realized I was a walking stereotype (pun intended). Despite my self-proclaimed diet savvy, I was severely underestimating my calorie consumption.

Yikes. Guess I should cut back on the zucchini.

Yikes. Guess I should cut back on the zucchini.

I even signed up for a trial premium subscription to check out how I compared to other Fitbit users in my country.

Competitive? Moi?

So now that I know every calorie going in and out, how am I doing?


I'm not even sober, hungry and cranky!

I’m not even sober, hungry and cranky!

Have you ever used any fitness gadgets? What are your dieting pitfalls and how do you cope?


Scenes From A Swimless Summer

Having a pool sounds great, doesn’t it? Especially this time of year, when it’s nearing 90-degrees Fahrenheit (and 1,000% humidity) in New Jersey.


Hub #1, Peppermeister, and I were thrilled when we purchased our first home in 2010 – there was an in-ground pool in the backyard! We knew nothing about pools, and weren’t sure what lay beneath the forest green tarp, but hoped it was salvageable. We scraped together our last hopes, dreams, blood, sweat and pennies to open the pool that summer. We assumed things would get easier after that.

Here’s a brief recount of the last month.



JULES: We need to do all of the shrubbery trimming BEFORE we take off the pool cover this year.




JULES: I just dumped another $100 of shock in, and emptied the vacuum 12 times, but it’s not going to get clean if we can’t keep the filter running.

PEPPERMEISTER: I’ll replace the <blah blah whosiwhatsit widget gauge thingamajig blah blah>. For the third time.



PEPPERMEISTER: Filter still not working. I called Pool Company #1.



PEPPERMEISTER: Did Pool Company #2 come? You made sure to ask them what they did this time, right?

JULES: Yes, they think we need to replace the handle thingy? And you need to call Hector.




PEPPERMEISTER: So it turns out all of those problems with the filter were because…we needed a new filter.




JULES: I got the backwash to work, but can’t get the filter back on.

PEPPERMEISTER: Where did you put the DE powder?

JULES: In the skimmer basket by the pump.

PEPPERMEISTER: That’s not where it’s supposed to go.

JULES: But I watched three YouTube videos! THREE!

PEPPERMEISTER (dialing Pool Company #2): Yeah… uh-huh…okay… yeah… we’ll try that. (adjusts black knobby thing by one of the pipes) Well, now it’s working. But clearly it wasn’t a problem with the filter.

JULES: You’ll have to show me how to do that.




CLERK: Can I help you?

JULES: Yes… I need alkaline.

CLERK: How low is it?

JULES: Umm… 6.8?

CLERK: That would be your PH, not your alkaline.

JULES: Oh right, right, of course! The alkaline is like a greenish-yellow on the test strip. Maybe more like a baby puke.

CLERK: How many gallons is your pool?

JULES: Does 50,000 sound like WAY too much?

CLERK: Well just how big is your pool?

JULES: Pool-sized?

CLERK: You probably have 20,000. You’re going to need to balance the alkalinity first, then the pH. You’ll need 1 lb of this for every 10,000 gallons.

JULES (to self): Well played, math and science. Well played.

CLERK: You’re gonna wanna add half this bag, then wait an hour, then the other half, wait an hour. Then add half of the second bag, wait an hour, then the other half, wait an hour. Keep the filter running the whole time. Tomorrow morning, test the water, then add half of this pH.  So you won’t be swimming today.




JULES: I tested the water. The alkaline is baby puke color again.

PEPPERMEISTER: I think I’m done with the pool.


What are your summer peeves and/or pay-offs?


“I Do”-Wop

When my BFF, Jenn, asked how things were going in Plural Marriage-ville, she was surprised by my answer.

Here’s a taste of why.
























Have you ever been in a band, or wish you had been? Any groupies out there?

P.S. – Special thanks to Jenn, and to those of you who suggested The Hubs form a band. Less special thanks to Hubs 1 through 3. Now cut that sh*t out.


Scenes From A Weird-Ass Week



Hi! How are you doing?


Good, thanks.


What nationality are you?


Uhhh… German, Irish. And…English…


Oh yeah, ’cause your accent is just great.



How I Think I Sound:

How THEY Think I Sound:




Are those flashing lights? Are we being pulled over?


Yes. Calm down!


Do you know why I pulled you over?




Both of your headlights are out. Both of them. Both…of…them. You only have one fog light on.



(stepping on scale)




I need you to find kale. Like yesterday.

I don’t even know who I am anymore.



My mom would like a dark chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting for her birthday.


I’m on it. I shall prepare everything from scratch, just as I’ve done since I was 9. In fact, I have the perfect recipe! I normally use it for cupcakes, but no matter! What could go wrong?


All the cream cheese frosting in the world couldn't make this right.

All the cream cheese frosting in the world can’t make this right.




Oh, what’s this under the side table? An old fortune! Well whatever it says, it’s going to shed some light on my life and tell me what I should do next, I just know it!



Did you have any ‘off’ experiences this week?

Pssst…next week is my 2-year blog-o-versary! I’m not even sure you’re prepared for what I have in store. Here’s a sneak peek: